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June 29, 2014

Fastest times net $30

24 kids battle in Pineknotter Days opener

— NORTHUMBERLAND — Twenty-four preteens strapped on helmets, slipped inside race cars and leaned forward along a one-block downhill stretch of King Street on Saturday with hopes of winning the 15th soap box derby in Northumberland.

The boys and girls, ages 8 to 11, gripped their steering wheels with steely determination stared intently at the finish line, where that $30 first-place prize was waiting in the double-elimination tournament sponsored by Northumberland police.

Konner Kush, of Gap, Lancaster County, was the fastest among 8-year-olds; Kennedie Lauver, of New Berlin, was quickest among 9-year-olds; Isaac Holley, of Northumberland, beat all other 10-year-olds, and Jaidyn Long, of Northumberland, took the checkered flag among 11-year-olds.

The soap box derby christened the 42nd Pineknotter Days celebration, which features a Pinemudder competition in Pineknotter Park at 2 p.m. today.

“The kids had a great time,” said Kelly Roth, a Northumberland police officer who thanked Dr. Ralph Cianflone and his wife for their sponsorship of the race, McCann School of Business’ criminal justice students for helping to load the cars onto a trailer at the end of each heat, fire police for traffic control and community residents who volunteered.

“The kids even enjoyed helping set up the cars for their fellow racers when it wasn’t their turn,” Roth said. “They got a workout carrying the weights that were in their cars back up the hill when they were done racing.”

Varying weights were placed in each car to offset the difference in the children’s weights. Each child switched driving one of 12 cars owned by the borough in each race.

Second-place finishers received $20, and third-place finishers, $10. Every participant received a one-day pass to Liberty Splashland.

The weeklong Pineknotter Days also will make a splash, Roth said.

“I have lived in town all my life,” she said. “It’s a great event and opportunity to catch up with people and see old friends. There’s great music and food, and it helps to support local nonprofits that use it as a fundraiser.”

Results of the soap box derby. Racers are from Northumberland unless noted:

n Eight years old

1. Konner Kush, Gap, Lancaster County; 2. Dakota Englehardt; 3. Jayden Packer. Other racers were: Brooke Brown, Isabella Kadryna, Olivia Kadryna, Tyson Piercy, Jackson Ramsey, Tucker Teats, Winfield.

n Nine years old

1. Kennedie Lauver, New Berlin; 2. Luke Spaventa; 3. Caden Bergenstock, Danville. Other racers were: Mason Ciaflone, Tanner Gully, Daniel Hernandez and Zachary Wenrich.

n 10 years old

1. Isaac Holley; 2. Hannah Garinger; 3. Jonathan Fisher. Other races were: Adam Oakes and George Shearer.

n 11 years old

1. Jaidyn Long; 2. Andrew Adams, town unavailable; 3. Bailee Lauver, New Berlin.

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